Mile 1 - 8:21
I was off to a great start with a mostly downhill mile, great crowd support, and perfect weather! I knew in this first mile that there was no way I could hold this pace the entire race, but I was feeling strong!
I made the decision to run with my own music, a rare occurrence for me during a race with large crowds and plenty of course entertainment, but I knew I needed all the motivation I could get.
Mile 2 - 8:55
I made the turn around Schiller Park and ran through German Villiage, noticing that the course was a bit hillier than I had anticipated. I told myself to slow down and wait until later in the race to see if I had anything left.
Miles 3 & 4 - 8:47, 8:58
This part was a bit of a struggle. There were some small hills and I had to keep reminding myself it was ok to slow down. I started a gu, but only ended up finishing about two-thirds of it. I spent most of mile 3 looking for Fourth and Livingston, where I knew my friend John was waiting to cheer me on! I was surprised to see him in a giant t-Rex costume, and that was enough to keep me smiling!
Next, I knew I was looking for my husband around mile 4, who was also there as a spectator. He ended up waiting for me right around the same spot as Columbus marathon in 2015, near Nationwide and High. Oh how our lives have changed since then :)
Miles 5 & 6 - 8:45, 8:53
I fully enjoyed the small downhill at Goodale Park, followed by a left turn to split from the half marathoners. After struggling through a small uphill, I decided to start picking people off. All my focus was on passing the next person and enjoying the crowd support as I got close to the finish line.
Kick (.55) - 8:36 pace
It’s all too common for me to talk about crying at this point in a race, but yep, I was just oh so happy heading to the finish :)
6.55 miles in 57:20!
Success! A quarter marathon PR by seven minutes!!! I’m thrilled with how this race went!
Those three little letters are making me feel a lot of ways this morning.
First, let’s talk about my training for Disney marathon. I totally meant to train, but you know, life was busy. I think I got a solid four double digit long runs in, up to 17 miles. Not ideal, but I thought finishing would be doable.
The night before the race, I got an email that we had yellow flag conditions due to high heat and humidity.
On race morning, I met up with Stacy and we waited together patiently for almost two hours until Aaron showed up just minutes before the start and we all started the race together.
Miles 1 & 2 - 10:06 & 9:30
I had a hard time getting to my pace due to course congestion. I was trying not to weave, so just slowed down a little bit. I also didn’t know exactly what “my pace” for the day was going to be, just trying to settle into anything that felt easy. This part of the course is dark and fairly uneventful other than a few characters.
Miles 3-6 - 9:32, 9:29, 9:34, 9:31
MAGIC KINGDOM!! I have a hard time putting this part of the course into words, but I think magical works well. The crowd support and the views, and oh that turn onto Main Street USA when I can finally see the castle all lit up with Christmas lights. I just love this part so much! I was surprised the characters only had a handful of people in line for them; knowing now how my race turned out, I regret not stopping for some character pictures!
Mile 7 - 9:54
Already feeling tired, and forced myself to slow the pace down. We ran past Grand Floridian, then Emmy and Jamie were waiting for me outside our hotel, Shades of Green. I gave that girlie the biggest kiss and kind of thought about how convenient it was that I could just stop right there and be done already. But I continued on.
Mile 8 - 10:00
My knees were hurting and my right foot felt a little numb and I overall just wasn’t feeling it, especially since I knew the next few miles were a little boring. I stopped at a med tent for Tylenol, and received my first X on the back of my hand in almost a decade (for medics to track the number of doses I got on the course).
Miles 9-11 - 10:04, 10:00, 10:28
All I kept thinking about is how I would rather be having fun with Emmy. I did some soul searching for what I was really excited about during the course. Magic Kingdom, of course, but that was already over with. I’ve already run the Boardwalk and EPCOT in other races. I realized what I really really wanted to do was run through Animal Kingdom for the first time.
I stopped for a walk break and texted Jamie to alert him to my new plan and asked him to check the course map for the first med tent after DAK. He texted back immediately with a super supportive message and 14.4 - my finish line.
Mile 12 - 10:48
I actually thought I walked most of this mile. I texted a couple friends to let them know my plans, and was blown away by the support I received for the decision.
Miles 13 & 14 - 11:14 & 10:51
Running through Animal Kingdom was even more fun than I had imagined! The spot where we entered backstage was the same place we entered for our wedding! There was tons of crowd support and we got to see the tree of life, expedition Everest, and the kids’ section of DinoLand. It was oh so much fun, especially knowing that I was almost to the end of my race. The sun was just starting to come out, and even though it was a beautiful morning, it was warming up very quickly.
The med tent in the Animal Kingdom parking lot was listed on the map at 14.4, which means I did a really terrible job of running the tangents, since I was .38 ahead. It turns out it’s really hard to quit a Disney race! The med tent told me that if I wanted to stop, I actually had to sit and wait until the sweepers come through since it wasn’t an emergency, which was still several hours away. I took a bottle of water and thanked them, and pretended I was going to continue on longer, then snuck through the Animal Kingdom parking lot to the park buses. The first one that came was to TTC, so I hopped on, then walked back to Shades of Green from there. What an adventure that turned out to be!
Total 14.78 miles, 10:07 average pace
I can’t truthfully say I’m upset with the way this race turned out. I didn’t really train for it, and honestly I’ve never had a marathon go well for me yet.
But I just had so much fun during the almost 15 miles I did run! Disney races are always so magical and I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of running down Main Street USA. I’m so happy I finally got to run through Animal Kingdom - that was super fun! And, most importantly, Emmy was definitely ready to go to Magic Kingdom when I got back. Her favorite things were It’s A Small World, the parade, and of course her new bubble wand. Yesterday turned out to be the best day ever!! Even though I didn’t go back to the finish line for the medal, I did technically end up with 26.2 miles on my Garmin from all the walking after the race, so I just may wear my shirt :)
I've been so absent from my blog that I just struggled to find the new post button.
It would be fair to say that I didn't have specific running goals in 2018. I wasn't sure how the balance of parenting and running would play out, so I decided early on in the year that I was simply running for fun. I remember a conversation with my husband about my new perspective during a hot summer run that summarizes my 2018 runs.
Let's say one day, twenty years from now, you get a phone call from Emmy. She's in the middle of a run, but it's hot and humid, and she didn't get much sleep last night, and she really just wants to go home and sit on the couch and drink coffee. What would I tell her?
I'm on my way, with coffee of course.
That thought has truly defined my running in recent months. Don't feel like running? Then don't run. By the end of the year, I completed 831 miles at an average 9:24 pace. I can say I enjoyed the majority of those miles (not including that one time I ran a marathon with strep throat).
So what are my goals for 2019?
They're simple and honestly somewhat vague.
In an attempt to have some actual measurable running goals in 2019, this is what I came up with:
Last year when we were in the early stages of wedding planning, we gave our Disney Wedding consultant what we thought was a completely ridiculous request. After several weeks of back and forth, we were finally approved for the THIRD EVER ceremony to happen in Disney's Animal Kingdom!!! We were given very limited options for dates and times, but one in particular stuck out to me - February 26 - for two specific reasons:
1. It's my Grandpa Ed's birthday
2. Isn't that Princess Weekend?!!!
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably aren't the least bit surprised that I planned my wedding around both a race and a Disney trip. I could probably write a whole blog post about how much fun planning a Disney wedding was, including the backstage tours, meeting with our chefs in the Epcot kitchen, cake tasting, evacuating during Hurricane Irma.... But anyways, let's skip right to one of the first events of our wedding weekend - Princess 10k!
We decided to go to the expo on Thursday (mostly because we were able to get Flight of Passage fastpasses on Friday). The expo started at noon, but we got there about a half hour early and were able to get right in to pick up our packets and shirts with no wait! I was surprised that we earned a spot in A corral -- that was a first for me!
As is typical for RunDisney, the race started so early in the morning. We were dressed and in line for a bus by 3:40 am. The ride from Riverside to the start area was quick and uneventful. We did a few laps around the Epcot parking lot to get a 10 minute warm up in, and that's when I realized I forgot to bring a Gu with me. I had originally planned on racing this, but decided to just have fun due to the high humidity. We got to the start area wayyyy too early and had to wait before we could even get to our corral. After what seemed like forever, we watched the fireworks go off and it was finally time to start!!!
Miles 1 & 2- 8:44, 8:35
The pace felt easy despite having to spend much of the first mile weaving through other people. I had forgotten how so many walkers cheat the system to start in the first corral - easily my least favorite part about Disney races. This part of the course wasn't terribly exciting or memorable. There were a couple characters and an enormous tv that I think was playing Moana. Disney has a magical way of making those boring highway miles go by fast ;)
Mile 3 - 8:43
During this mile, we were able to watch a couple other corrals start. Yay fireworks! We finally reached backstage Epcot and got to the World Showcase and IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! This is the first race I've done that went through there and I was thrilled! It is super pretty and I don't remember ever seeing all the countries lit up like that. Truly a unique experience that made the race so worth it! Running through Italy was so exciting, seeing where our first dance was going to be and looking for spots that would be good for wedding pictures.
Mile 4 - 8:54
On to the Boardwalk! Did I mention I've never run here before? There were a couple small hills that took maybe 20-30 seconds to climb. I enjoyed all the spectators that were out cheering us on! IT WAS JUST MAGICAL!!
Miles 5 & 6 - 8:59, 9:16, 8:07 kick pace
I've never been a front of the pack runner before, so it was really special for me to experience the World Showcase and the last little bit through Future World without much of a crowd. When we ran through the UK, Jamie and I made sure to point out where our dessert party would be later that night! We stopped in front of the ball for a picture, but got yelled at by the photographer for jumping :(
As always, the on course entertainment was a blast and we quickly made our way to the finish line!
10k in 55:26, 8:55 average pace
During the 2014 Columbus Half Marathon, I went to high five the mile two Patient Champion, and something immediately clicked. My stride felt just right and my pace felt easy, and I went on to PR by 18 minutes that day. After the race, I was able to keep training at that pace that had previously seemed impossible.
Though I can’t pinpoint the exact spot in the race, I broke through another mental barrier at Richmond Half Marathon two weeks ago. I used to get scared and back off as soon as I saw the pace on my watch start with an 8. At Richmond, I proved that I’m more than capable of sub 9 miles, and I’ve been consistently running that fast over the last couple weeks.
Now I’m wondering what else my body is capable of if I get my mind out of the way.
Last Saturday, I ran Richmond Half Marathon! I had originally registered for the full but it turned out training with a baby was way too much for me, and I dropped back to the half a couple months ago. I am so glad I made that decision because I achieved some huge goals in Richmond!
Jamie and I traveled with a couple of our besties, Wes and Andy. We arrived in Richmond on Thursday and stayed at the most adorable hotel ever, Quirk Hotel. We picked it because it was only a few blocks from the start line, and it turned out to be the most perfect place.
Thursday evening we went for a shakeout run and did some carb loading at Tarrant's Cafe. On Friday, we did some touristy things and went to the expo which was small and uneventful. Later that night, we laid out our flat runners and got to bed early - Emmy went to Grammy's for the weekend so we were able to sleep all night!
We woke up bright and early on Saturday, ready to race!! All 4 of us walked to the corrals together, but the half marathon started one street over. I found my way to corral C and tried my best to keep warm until the race started - it was 24 degrees at the start! My plan for the race was to hold 9:00 pace as long as I possibly could to see if I could break two....
Miles 1 & 2 - 8:57, 8:58
Off to a great start! The first two miles flew by. I was feeling good, although a little cold. There were a few sections of road construction where I had to watch my footing so I didn't fall.
Mile 3 - 8:53
My pace doesn't reflect how I was feeling this mile. We reached an overpass that was our first hill and it took everything for me to not walk. You see, my last double digit long run was about a month and a half before the race, and I wasn't feeling terribly confident in my ability to finish.
Miles 4 & 5 - 9:00, 9:06
The course went through a cute little neighborhood with great crowd support. I kept making deals with myself. I decided to finish my first gu before I would consider a walk break; I started the gu at 4.5 and took about a mile to get it down.
Mile 6 - 9:01
Part of the course did a big loop around a park, so we got to see all the fast runners here. I saw the 1:30 and 1:35 pace groups, and kept my focus on the other runners instead of my own tired legs.
Mile 7 - 8:53
Lots of downhill on this mile!! I was trying to be cautious on the hills because I had a feeling all those downhills meant we would have to go right back up....
Miles 8 & 9 - 9:14, 9:02
UPHILL. Not feeling like running anymore. When we finished the park loop, I focused on the runners just entering the park. I knew I had finished most of the uphills and the course headed back towards the river around mile 10.
Mile 10 - 8:58
I tried my hardest to hang on to 9:00 minute pace. It felt like I was slowing a lot, and I was surprised I was still on pace when I looked at my watch. I started my last gu, which ended up taking me almost a mile and a half to finish.
Miles 11 & 12 - 9:01, 9:09
I did a lot of math the last couple miles to keep my mind busy. What would my time be if I held 9:00 to the finish? Could I break two if I manage 10:00 for the rest of the race? What mile was Jamie at?
I was expecting this part of the course to be obviously downhill, but there were still some rolling hills.
Mile 13 - 8:51 and 7:04 kick
A little hill, and right turn, and I SAW THE FINISH. All downhill and I flew the last half a mile! Kick kick kick! I didn't believe my watch when I saw my time crossing that finish line.
I DID IT!!! I went into the race not sure if I could even run the whole thing, and I ended up PRing!! The course was a little hilly (nothing compared to Pittsburgh), but I loved it! I fought so hard for that sub two and the majority of it was mental.
I had to hike back up the hill to get back to the hotel, and took a long hot shower to thaw out after that cold race. The boys made their way back after they finished - a marathon PR for Jamie and Andy - then we went out for drinks and food. The rest of our weekend was mainly focused on food, relaxing, and Cards of Humanity. What a great weekend! :)
I recently learned about a new service called Mercury Mile - similar to Stitch Fix, they send a box filled with clothes and accessories, geared toward an active lifestyle. After reading through their website, I only had one question.
WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!
I see a lot of these types of posts from other bloggers where they're given free things in exchange for a review. I just want to have a full disclosure here that I wasn't contacted by the company for anything like that, and I paid for my box on my own. In other words... this is my real opinion ;)
Step 1 - Create Your Runner Profile
I started by filling out my profile! It asked practical questions about what size I wear and what activities I do. Then it moved on to fun questions about which races I'm training for, what colors I like, fit preferences, and my Instagram/Pinterest links.
Step 2 - Reserve a Box
To sign up for one of the very first boxes Mercury Mile shipped, I paid a $20 stylist fee which applies as a credit toward anything I keep.
Step 3 - Approve Styled Contents
Before my box shipped, I received an email from my stylist, Helen. She seems fab, and I'd like to be her best friend! She gave a quick summary of the things she picked for my box and why, then I got a detailed list of the box. There weren't any pictures and the description of each item was fairly vague, to keep everything a surprise when I open my box! At this point, I knew I was getting a tank, tee, shorts, capris, socks, and a couple of free gifts! One thing I really liked was the transparency - the email lists how much each item costs. I had to click a link in the email to approve the cost, then my box was on its way!
Step 4 - Run Your Mercury Mile
The best part - my box is finally here!!! The first thing in it when I opened my box was a handwritten, full page note from Helen, which I thought was a nice, personalized touch!
Here's what I got!
Pink Rabbit tank
Black Rabbit shorts with tons of pockets!
Black reflective Asics tights
Gray & black Rabbit tee
Goodr sunglasses (not pictured)
I love everything and decided to keep all of it! I've already run in the tights, pink tank, and socks, and they are all winners! I'm going to try out the new shorts on my long run Saturday, since all those pockets will be perfect for gu. I'm also going to ask if I can exchange the other Rabbit top - it's an XS (that's the size I put in my runner profile) but it's a little on the shorter side. Overall, I'm so happy with my first Mercury Mile experience!!
Edited 10/6 to add that I am able to exchange my shirt. Mercury Mile is super speedy and has the best customer service!
My alarm went off at 6:00 this morning so I could go out for a 17 mile long run. Before I got out of bed, I made an important decision.
I won’t be running Richmond Marathon.
I’m more than capable of completing today’s long run and ultimately a marathon in 6 weeks. I bounced back so quickly after Emerson was born, my paces are faster, and my miles are more consistent. I’m almost 15 pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant with Emerson, and I think I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been.
However, I can’t justify spending 3-4 hours away from my daughter just to run. I feel guilty, and I feel like I’m missing out on being with her. So I suppose this decision is more of a matter of priorities.
I love running and it makes me a better mom, (future) wife, and all around person, but in the past year or so I’ve seen a shift in the kind of running I enjoy. I like our Sunday family runs, and the short stroller runs I take Emerson on when Jamie works late. Easy runs, beautiful weather, and good company.
Today I’m spending my Saturday morning the best way I can imagine. Sitting on the living room floor, sipping my coffee. Letting Jamie sleep in for the first time in months. Watching Emerson’s enormous smile show off her two little teeth, hearing the most beautiful sound in the world- my girl saying Mama- as she attempts to chase the dogs and pull their tails and put everything she finds directly into her mouth. And it doesn’t get better than this!
I’ll admit I was a little sad hitting the button to finalize my transfer into the half, but for now I’m going to focus on a much more reasonable goal -breaking two in the half- and I’m sure I’ll find my way back to marathoning eventually.
Well I guess things have been a little busy in my life! Traveling, a teething baby, wedding planning....
I took a full 12 days off of running and skipped a couple long runs, but I am back at it now! Yesterday I ran 15.20 miles at a 9:31 pace. Luckily I had my BRF Aaron along with me for most of the miles. He's the absolute best, and filled the miles with talks of positive thoughts, Disney plans, and wedding details. Those miles flew by and I'm glad I'm still where I need to be for marathon training. I'm still nervous about this whole marathon thing, but I'm doing my best to make it happen!!!
it turns out I don't really have time for blogging and may not have weekly updates. Writing this as I play with Emmy and wait on some laundry to finish in the dryer. Emerson is starting to crawl and I can tell it won't be much longer until I'm spending my days chasing her around the house!
We recently went on a little road trip to Barnsley Resort near Atlanta! We originally wanted to check it out as a possible wedding venue, but their director of weddings was very unpleasant. We decided to go on the trip anyway, and I'm so glad we did! The resort is breathtakingly beautiful and it has a fascinating history. As it turns out, everybody else there is incredibly friendly, and they also have the most delicious pecan pie ever! After a few day trip, we had almost an eight hour drive home and decided to break it up by stopping for a short run in a few cities!
Georgia - Barnsley Resort
We started with a short run around the resort for one last view of the Ruins before we got on the road!
Tennessee - Trail of Tears
Our first stop was in Chattanooga for a mile on a paved trail that ran along the Trail of Tears. The run was a little hilly, but absolutely beautiful!
Kentucky - Arboretum
Next stop, the University of Kentucky Arboretum! This was our favorite run of the entire trip!! It was a two mile paved loop through a park with a little shade and of course some hills. We walked through the rose garden after our run, then stopped for Goodfellas pizza and Crank & Boom ice cream before getting back on the road.
Ohio - Smale Riverfront Park
We had planned on our final run of the day being once we got home, but we made a stop just over the Ohio border to feed Emerson and decided to do our run there too! I ran a mile, past the Bengals stadium and on the path along the river.
This ended up being a fun way to break up the long drive, and we got to run in some new places! I totaled 5.13 miles for the day at an average 9:35 pace.
Hello, my name is Alyssa!
I'm a momma to Emerson Lilly and two fur babies, a distance runner, and just a girl full of sparkle and quirks. I love traveling to races and exploring new places to run! I started this blog in 2014 as more of a journal to keep track of training for my first marathon, and I've continued to post about training, races, and other things happening in my life. Also, I'd like to be your best friend. :)